Race over self

In the interest of freedom, democracy and the Golden Rule, current generations cannot afford to ignore the voice of reason in favor of the tempting rhetoric spouted by political and religious extremists.

In a few weeks, thousands of Grand Valley State University graduates will flood the local and national job markets in search of a permanent use for their freshly-printed diplomas.

Some will be successful in their pursuits; however, many in the class of 2010 and those who follow them will be victims of the lingering recession and struggle to find security in their post-graduate lives.

Lengthy unemployment and financial insecurity can contribute to a sense of vulnerability for anyone, regardless of education, age or background.

It is in this vulnerable state of mind that otherwise intelligent, logical people can fall prey to the smear campaigns waged by religious and political extremist groups.

Playing on the entitlement mentality of younger generations, these groups conveniently direct the rage of a discontented public toward the forces of law and order that threaten their own existence.

Not only do these groups falsely pledge allegiance to basic democratic principles, but many claim adherence to “Christian” ideals.

Members of the Michigan-based Hutaree, or Christian militia, profess a belief and adherence to Christianity but engage in actions that defy the very teachings of their religion.

These “Christian warriors” are no different than the infamous Ku Klux Klan, which still today considers itself a Christian organization.

One does not have to adhere to a specific religion or political ideology to understand the seriousness of extremism concealed as the beliefs that millions hold dear.

While this editorial could be interpreted as a commentary on religion or political allegiance, be assured such was not its intent.

Discontent with government and law continues to grow at a grassroots level while distrust of the opposition is becoming the mantra of our political leaders. The situation in Washington, D.C., and throughout the U.S. and world will worsen before it improves.

The group that christened itself the Guardians of the Free Republics will likely continue to send threatening letters to state governments and may eventually adopt the violent behaviors of which it forewarns. If this organization is disbanded, another will rise up in its stead.

Members of the GVSU community may be asked to fight for their beliefs in the future as their ancestors were called on to do in the past. When they do, this editor hopes they will have the foresight to disregard extremist rhetoric and the courage to act for betterment of the race rather than the perceived advantage for the self.